*Mysterious stuff you’ve never heard of and didn’t know you needed but totally do
A while back I wrote a post to encourage people to think a little out of the box and consider a gift for the new mama or papa in your life, rather than the kid they just cooked up. Truth be told, that little guy gets TONS of good swag – mom and dad are clopped liver compared to a snuggly little stinkin’ adorable baby with baby breath and that new baby smell (way better than the new car smell – ask any mom). As a follow up, now that we have taken care of the parental units, let’s turn our focus to the baby. Or the bébé (if you are French or a pretentious ass).
- Onesie with mittens – you heard me. Newborns flail their arms. A lot. Here’s a newsflash. Babies are not desperate to get of the womb as we are conditioned to think. They LIKE close quarters. They want to feel snug. The last thing they need is all this arm freedom. Newborns like nothing more than to be curled into a little ball just like they were before they were so unceremoniously introduced to the cold, harsh realities of life on the outside. Make the transition a little smoother by keeping your little bug’s hands from scratching his or her face when he is jerking his arms spastically (don’t worry. The flailing stage is mercifully brief). L’ovedBaby makes an inexpensive, adorable one in 100% cotton, as does Gerber (pack of 3). Look for them online – Targét did not come through for me when I was shopping for friends a few weeks ago.
- Gripe water – No, it’s not water with an attitude. Gripe water is a homeopathic, herbal treatment for a colicky baby. Now I have had two babies and I am still not 100% sure of the textbook definition of colic. But one thing I do know – when your newborn has a tummy ache or is gassy (symptoms include crying, CRYING, C.R.Y.I.N.G. and crying with a side of wailing), gripe water is a helpful, inexpensive and handy weapon in your parental arsenal. Skeptics say there is no scientific basis for its efficacy, but all I know is that sometimes it helped Townes and Daisy to relax when nothing else we were doing was working.
- Cheap cloth diapers – Because baby care is gross! My sister dragged me away from all of the cute toys and soft blankets to the cloth diaper aisle when we were doing our registry and made me buy three packs of these. I thought she was out of her mind. Now I do the same for my pregnant friends. You will use them as burp cloths. You will use them to wipe up barf from the floor. You will use them to mop the mess from the nightstand when you’re breastfeeding at 3am and you accidently knock your giant juice over onto it. You will use them when you accidently fling poop across the room in the process of trying to change a wiggling kiddo on the changing table (don’t ask). They are super absorbent and completely disposable. We are still using them today.
- Big hat (for summer babies) – newborns aren’t supposed to use sunscreen at all. Until babies are about six months old, just keep them out of the sun as much as possible. Their skin is too thin and the surface to body ratio is too high to allow them to safely benefit from sunscreen. Once your baby hits 6 months, you can try a zinc oxide or titanium oxide based sunscreen. We used the all-natural and bafflingly expensive line by California Baby.
- Nasal aspirator – the hospital will send you home with this. Don’t lose it. It’s gross, but when your baby has a sinus cavity full of mucous, this low tech gadget is the shit.
- Diaper bag – we use an old school backpack because Tim and I are home with the kids about the same amount of time and there seemed to be no real reason for us to each carry a different bag. Having said that, I’m sure there are highly efficient machine-style mamas who outfit their hubby with a separate but created equal version of the girlie diaper bag. I am the kind of mom who has to run back inside three times before leaving the house regardless of how well I think I packed. So to add an additional variable to my already slapshot diaper bag routine would create more headaches than it is worth for me.
- Some sort of in-sink bathing contraption. The tubs that you can buy to use in your bathtub are great but not really for newborns. Your baby will be impossibly tiny. The first few months of baths should happen in the kitchen sink. They have no neck control though and most babies are an odd combo of elbows and knees. Just get some soft insert for the sink and call it a day so you don’t always have to have bath time be a two person proposition. Puj Tub and blooming bath are adorable but kind of expensive. There are cheaper options at Babies R Us. You could also go totally old-school and line the sink with towels, but soaking wet beach towels are the kind of bummer you might not think is a big deal now – but when you’re alone with your newborn you’re gonna wish you had a more efficient system.
- Tons of socks. Baby socks go missing as much if not more than grown up socks. And you want to keep those tootsies warm. Also, companies like Trumpette let you indulge in fashion cuteness at a relatively reasonable price. Check out these sandals! And the Mary Janes! Or for your little guy, these loafers!
And 2 things that you don’t need:
- Shoes. Babies don’t walk. Duh.
- Designer anything. If you get a Gucci
tracksuit or JCrew
cashmere sweater as a gift from a posh friend who is reimagining you as Rachel
Zoe or Kim Kardashian, adorable! But DO NOT EVEN BE TEMPTED INTO BUYING EXPENSIVE
CLOTHES yourself. It’s responsible parenting 101. Do not waste money on clothes
they really will only wear 2-3 times
max. Max!!!! For realsies. I didn’t buy into that math pre-baby. I mean, it
seems absurd. I was imagining changing baby 2-3 times a day because of the
spitup and general baby detritus, accident probability, etc. But you WILL
receive many, many, far too many items of clothing and you (as the primary
peeps dressing your little bundle) will have your favorites. Whatever junior is
easiest to get in and out of and whatever is most cozy and comfortable will be
your go-to. With both Townes and Daisy the kimono onesies and Gerber basic
onesies got lots of wear. Basically anything that avoided the dreaded
over-the-head move. Newborns have no neck musculature. They loll. Exclusively. The
designer sweaters and polos and tiny newborn jeans? Not so much. Have you ever
seen a newborn in a leather jacket and skinny jeans? I certainly hope not. If
you are tempted remind yourself: I am not Rachel Zoe. And Rachel Zoe's baby? SOOOOOO uncomfortable. The evidence: